Lotharios and Chiquitas

Trip Start Jun 09, 2005
1
23
36
Trip End ??? ??, 2006


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Flag of Spain  ,
Friday, April 14, 2006

This title refers to the totally disproportionate amount of good looking people in this country, both male and female. Mick and I have spent a fair proportion of our time simply people watching and enjoying the very nice view. Spectacular!

Just before hopping on the bus to Bilbao, Mick suddenly clenches his back in pain and realises that he can barely move. Shit. He has pinched a nerve in his back and spends the next two days in agony in bed watching tournament billiards (he is fine now by the way) Lisa wanders fairly aimlessly around what is a quite nice town, but one that doesn't have a whole lot for a tourist once it's one hit wonder, the Guggenheim Mueseum (actually one of the best modern art galleries in the world - and the most amazing building I have ever seen) has been explored. Bilbao seems a fairly conservative and traditional place. Once again, there are numerous basque flags and political banners flying. On Easter Sunday, the whole town seemed to be carrying the Basque flag. I cannot for the life of me figure out why such a world class attraction as the Guggenhiem Museum is doing here. In Barcelona it would make sense, in Bilbao?

I spent a reasonably pleasant Easter Friday afternoon strolling around the old town centre and exploring the museum. Walking back, I suddenly hear the sound of drums and trumpets behind me. I look around to see one of the downright weirdest sight of my life. What the hell? What are the Ku Klux Clan doing in Bilbao - and why are they carrying a float of Jesus on the Cross? Have a look at the photos and you will see what I mean. Fortunately the procession went on for a good five or six hours, and was right beneath our hotel window so MIck also got to see this scary religious 'festival', for lack of a better word.

There is not much else to tell you about Bilbao really, except it is a pretty but fairly dull city. I get the impression it is a little like Brisbane, in that there is little for a tourist to do unless you have a car and have a local to show you its hidden secrets. Beyond Bilbao I knew there was some great beaches and mountainous country. I had once again tryed to ask about the mountains at the tourist office, and was met with puzzlement when I asked if I could visit. We were definately were off the backpacker route now. Thank god! Since leaving Barcelona, we have seemed to be the only non-spanish tourists, and has been fantastic. What I loved is that everyone from Grandmas to little kiddies seemed to spend the entire easter festival out on the streets and in the numerous Pinxos Bars eating, drinking and being merry. The people of Basque Country are obviously extremely proud of thier language, traditions and culture and I felt priveledged to have shared in itfor a little while, although still very much as an outsider. For once, rather than just seeing the sites and feeling no real need to explore any deeper, I have left Spain wanting to find out so much more about its people and culture.

This trip has been very up and down, with some some parts being really quite stressful. We ended up with a completely different experience than the one we planned, but probably all the better for it.

Oh yeah, bizarely, Spain also has by far the best coffee of any country we have been to. Go figure?
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Comments

djnidra
djnidra on

Bilbao , know it better
Hiya, mickandlisa. Thanks a lot for sharing your impressions of your trips. Being from Bilbao I have to make a comment about couple of things you say.
The Easter celebrations in the Basque Country and Spain HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THE INFAMOUS KU KLUX CLAN. The Processions have been held for CENTURIES. I would recommend you to use google and write ' semana santa procesiones ' you can translate the page and learn about the origins of the Easter Processions.
If you read about the history of Spain you would discover a character called Franco who, like Pinochet in Chile, established a DICTATORSHIP after a civil war that lasted three years. Franco, as his friend Hitler believed in a Solid and United Estate. Therefore the different nations inside Spain were not very appreciated, since they made Spain fragmented. He decided to FORBID ANY LANGUAGE, TRADITIONAL MUSIC, ETC... BUT Spanish. BASQUE was specially not wanted because it's a very rare language that doesn't even derivate from Latin. Even worse, the origin of the language is unknown and it's one of the oldest in Europe....................
FRANCO'S DICTATORSHIP LASTED ABOUT 40 YEARS. HE DIED WHEN I WAS 3.. 1975.. that's quite recent if you think about it.
That's why we are still celebrating the freedom of showing our flag...
Hope you find this information useful and appreciate more our contry and language.
A friend from Bilbao.
leire
xxx

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